FOUR site changes and a SHOCKING Card of the Day!

What have I done with the site since the last blog post?

Changed footer (now has image)

-Makes the site nicer to look at, and puts less emphasis on the text down there.

Changed blog pages to max of 10 posts/page (should make loading them faster in future)

-Now that I’m at over 2 weeks of daily blogging (this is Blog #16), I’ve noticed that the category page for Daily Blog was loading slower.  Especially with youtube videos and pictures embedded, I think 10 should be the max.  I don’t like having to click to different pages for stuff like this, but it might be necessary for load times.  Let me know if the site ever loads too slowly for you.

Added Recent Posts section to homepage

-What I want on the homepage is a line or something, and then the full text of the most recent post from the Daily Blog.  So far I’ve only figured out how to add the recent posts widget that links out to the 5 most recent posts, but it’s a start.  If I can’t figure out the former, the current scheme seems fine.

Unfroze the menu!

-This is the big one I’ve been talking about, and yesterday I finally figured it out!  Now when you scroll on pages, the top menu shouldn’t come with you.  XD  Makes the pages easier to read, and you can take in more of the page you’re looking at without having 15-30% of it taken up by the main menu.  I can also change it back if I make radical changes to the menu style and format, but if anything the menu will only get bigger as I add more pages, so it seems best when fixed at the top.

I’ve also got a new youtube video!  This is another suggestion from the youtube comments.  I should be able to video/audio blog more next week, so I’m looking forward to that.  It’s faster, and possibly provides more reach through sharing.  My first video blog already has about 30 views and 5 likes (more likes than I usually get XD), so thank you all for watching that.


I also like the idea of an “Ask A7XfanBen Show”, which Xerecs has already shown interest in.



**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 14 – Return to Savage Shores

Collector’s Number: 051 – Zhanfu + Huang Bai


Points: 25
Masts: 10 (Junk)
Cargo: 6
Move: S+S
Cannons: 4L-3L-3S-3S-2S-2S-3S-3S-3L-4L
Link: Huang Bai

Ability: Junk. Mercenary. Dories. American crew can use their abilities on this ship.

Huang Bai

Points: 5
Link: Zhànfǔ

Ability: Ex-Patriot. Hostile: Spain. Once per turn, you can eliminate one of this ship’s crew to give her an extra action. After looking at treasure on a wild island, you can trade any one treasure from that island for a random treasure on any other wild island. This ship must load the traded treasure.

Flavor: Unwilling to cede the end of the Jade Empire, Huang Bai nonetheless realizes the need to pause and rebuild—as a mercenary. His first customer, America, is eager to pit him and “Golden Axe” against the expanding Spanish empire.


O_O  Oh wow!!  First time getting RtSS, the only unreleased set, and what do you know, a 10 master appears!!!!  XD  O_O

Well then.  This will have to be a longer entry than usual, though I’ll avoid doing a full Miniature Review.  XD  If you’re largely new to the game or any of these keywords, you may want the Master Keyword List for this.

The Zhanfu is elite in being the only 10 master that has a base move faster than L.  This makes her stand out immediately, because with a helmsman and extra actions she can FLY at S+S+S+S+S+S (6S!), which is crazy for a ship this large (and quite unrealistic haha).  The Dories keyword allows her to actually get gold for the Mercenaries, though after a captain and helmsman come aboard, she’ll only have 4 spaces left.  Still a decent strategy if you want to use her in small games with gold, but her real strength lies in her ability and super-gunship nature in huge games.

Huang Bai is actually a very good crew.  Sac is perfect for a 10 master, since it can make the Zhanfu deadlier than ever, while his other ability is good for hybrid use.  Though, paying 5 points in general for an Ex-Patriot Sac crew is a solid deal either way.  He could lose the island treasure trading ability and still see lots of usage.  Ex-Patriot is important here because it gives him the opportunity to serve any faction, including ones like the Corsairs and Vikings who never got a single source of the sac ability.  In that regard he’s almost as useful as the incredible Shap’ng Tsai, who essentially gave all factions a sac captain.

*Being a Mercenary ship that can’t dock, a shipwright is a good option for any of the following setups if you can fit one in.

Standard 40 point games:  Captain, helmsman, oarsman/explorer.  This gives the Zhanfu a chance to be a hybrid in a smaller game, with 3 or 4 spaces open for gold and the minor crew to protect the two vital crew.  If you went this route, I’d recommend filling the rest of the build total with at least one gold ship.  If you happen to use the Zhanfu in a 40 point deathmatch, it would probably be better to use some variation of the setups below.  (31 total points)  

Medium size games (50-100 points):  Huang Bai, captain, helmsman, explorer, 2-3 oarsmen.  With 3 oarsmen aboard, you’d only have one cargo space open to start the game.  (since Bai links and the first oarsman doesn’t take up space)  However, your cargo would increase as you began saccing crew, up to a max of 3 if you kept the explorer (who you could also sac of course).  I think this is a potentially underrated 10 master hybrid setup for mid-size games.  The Zhanfu would be flying all over the map causing chaos, yet still able to pull in some profit along the way.  (38/39 total points)

Large games (over 100 points): Huang Bai, Captain Nemo, Ibrahan Ozat, captain, helmsman, oarsman or explorer.  This is the exact setup I used in VASSAL Campaign Game 3.  This maxes out the Zhanfu’s point cap space, with a whopping 25 points of crew aboard.  (spoilers ahead)  This particular setup was devastatingly effective in CG3 , as the Zhanfu spearheaded the eliminations of the French, Spanish, and English.  O_O  Granted, she didn’t face much combat competition in that game, but it still goes to show how effective she can be with the proper crew at her helm/disposal (disposal due to Huang Bai “disposing” of crew with his sac ability).  I also used the Zhanfu in VASSAL Campaign Game 2, where she proved her worth.  I proxied the Shui Xian for the Zhanfu in Economy Edition.  You can tell I like to use 10 masters in campaign games.  XD  Lately on VASSAL, I’ve had a penchant for it.

Shockingly enough, these great crew setups don’t even utilize the Zhanfu’s primary unique ability at all!  There are tons of great American crew that would be a great fit for this behemoth.  Of them, Brent RiceCanceller DNT, and any of the extra action/SAT (same action twice) crew would be the best.  Crenshaw would be a surprisingly good choice as well, since he’d boost the ranges on 6 of the most accurate cannons aboard.  America does lay claim to two cheap Eternal crew, but the Mercenary keyword will prevent it from working, so save it for your Constitution, Enterprise, etc.

Game Piece Rating: 9/10.  How can this ship get much less?  Sure she’s obscenely expensive, but she should be.  Her cost is just low enough to allow usage in reasonably competitive 40 point games, making her a powerhouse at pretty much any build total.  In large games of 100+ points and campaign games, she clearly shines.  Her cargo and cannons may not be the best among her 10 master peers, but speed wins games and is the most important attribute in the game.  S+S speed on a 10 master is nearly criminal, but unfortunately the Zhanfu didn’t quite get away with it since she was never produced.

Huang Bai: 8.5/10.  Sure he has Ex-Patriot along with a somewhat unfitting treasure ability, but giving Sac at 5 points to all the factions is a boon for competitive play.  Bai may not see usage like fellow 10 master commander Tsai (comment below if you get the reference), but he’s underrated simply due to being from Return to Savage Shores.  If he had been a crew from Mysterious Islands or Savage Shores, he’d be much more well-known and respected. (and feared, I might add)

Should I rate them as a combo?  XD  Probably not since Bai is not required (unlike The Headhunter on the Guichuan for example), but they’d still get at least a 9/10 from me when paired.  A really great combo that fans of 10 masters, campaign games, the Americans, and the Mercenaries should try out.


Since the Zhanfu doesn’t exist in physical form, the best way to use her is a proxy 10 master or on the VASSAL module.  Here she is in VASSAL Campaign Game 3, where I used her effectively.  (spoilers ahead) In this picture she is about to eliminate the final Spanish presence in the game, and later she would play the main role in knocking the English out of the game (their home island shown at the left).

The Zhanfu acting as a 1-ship elimination strike force.
















Picture of the Day

No game today, but I’ve actually played Pirates both of the past 2 years on this exact date.  Here’s the 10th anniversary of Davy Jones’ Curse game between myself and Xerecs.  (the 10th anniversary was on 5/31/2016)

2 years ago today on VASSAL vs. Xerecs

This picture is from last year, when Xerecs and I finished a game during VASSAL Tournament #2.

During VASSAL Tournament #2 last year!

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.


Going for it.

I really want to make this fansite work well.  I want it to drive traffic and attention to Pirates CSG, since more attention on the game means a higher chance of coming back in some form someday.  I have made some minor changes to the site and will be making more changes today.  You may have noticed the new logo, which I also use for the Pirates CSG Podcast.  The top menu is also a little different – I increased the text size but decreased the vertical padding, so it’s more compact.  I haven’t figured out how to unfreeze it from the top yet, but it’s already better.  Looks like making the default content font pure black worked.  I might keep experimenting with the size.

Great news!  I have Blog #13 (the first video blog) on ShoutEngine, and I’ve already got it on iTunes!  😀  I hope to make this blog as accessible as possible, so you don’t even have to read or watch anything to get the information!


DealS of the Day: Lot of American stuff for cheap and free shipping.  I see the Constitution, Ghost Walker, and some OE Special Edition ships, which makes it worth the starting bid of $6 alone.

There’s some other good small stuff out there, such as the Frozen North Limited Edition Elsinore and HMS Regent.

Finally, HWG has sales on the Plunder Pack and 36 pack lot of Rise of the Fiends. (sales could end soon!)

-Also, as I updated the last blog post with, the seller gave a response to my question about the tournament packs in the OE box.

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 7 – Mysterious Islands

Collector’s Number: 081 – Le Lache du Calvados

Faction Affiliation: France
Rarity: C
Type: Ship
Point Value: 11
Cargo Space: 3
Base Move: S+S
Cannons: 2S-3S
Number of Masts: 2

This ship cannot be shot at by ships within S of her. 

Flavor: French sailors ordered to serve aboard the “Coward of Calvados” throw themselves into battle with ferocious courage to prove that the ship was not named for them.

You may have heard how much I hate this ability because it’s extremely annoying, overpowered, and slows the game down when trying to figure out if/how you can be in range of pesky ships like this.  That said, the Lache is not a horrible gunship.  She combines largely average stats with a great ability and high price tag.  She won’t nearly be your first choice of French 2 masters, but in big games she could be a nice weapon to have around.

Standard 40 point games: Captain, and probably helmsman.  You need the extra speed, but 16 points is a lot to spend on a mediocre vessel.  If your opponent doesn’t have a lot of speed in their fleet, you might be able to get away with just a captain and run this ship as a hybrid with 2 cargo spaces open.  (14/16 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): Captain, helmsman, optional oarsman.  (16/17 total points)

Large games (over 100 points):  Captain/helmsman/firepot specialist.  That 2S cannon at the bow is a good place for a FPS (Firepot Specialist) and spending more than 20 points on this ship is probably a wasted attempt.  (18 total points)

Game Piece Rating: 5/10.  The ship is alright on cargo, speed, and firepower, but her high cost makes her somewhat forgettable.  The ability helps make her stand out, but she just isn’t a great ship.

Get the Lache du Calvados here for under $2!


Picture of the Day

Here are the English at their home island at the start of Command the Oceans.  Like the island?  Check out Ross’s Facebook page where you might be able to snag some for yourself!

Going for it.

Truly a beautiful setting. My pictures for this game have come a long way since 2013.













It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.


VERY cheap OE + another anniversary

Now that I’ve completed my first full year on youtube, I’m quite happy with my progress.  That’s right, yesterday’s video blog was uploaded to youtube exactly one year after my first youtube video.  🙂

No big changes to the site, but there are some minor behind-the-scenes stuff I’d like to figure out.  Some of the pages I’m excited about adding will take much more than one day to finish and publish, but the current content on all the pages is a lot more than the bare bones stuff I started with.  Right after this post I’m going to try and unfreeze the menu from the top because it has gotten big and shouldn’t scroll with the page.  At the bottom of the blog posts the text seems to glitch a bit with the picture for some reason, creating or deleting line breaks that don’t exist in the editor.  Not a big deal at least.  I’m also experimenting with making the font size a little bigger, mostly because it has seemed a little small, but also because that seems to be glitching a bit too!


Deal of the Day: 36 pack box of OE for just 39.99 with FREE shipping! Possibly with a tournament pack!!  This is a great deal, since HWG has 36 pack lots (without the box) for $38, but their shipping cost to me is somehow about $20, and I’m located quite close to them (Pennsylvania to New York).

-I have messaged the seller on eBay to ask whether or not all of the boxes come with tournament packs, as it looks like one in the picture.  If they respond I will give their response in that day’s blog post and possibly update this post as well.  You can hit “contact seller” on the right side of the listing to ask them yourself.  It says “more than 10 available” so no real rush, but considering the high shipping on Hills’ lot, this is worth it even without a tournament pack.

If they have tournament packs, this could be one of the better Pirates deals EVER.  You’re only paying about a dollar per pack, but throw in free shipping and a potential tournament pack (OE LE’s are rare and expensive, though bad in gameplay) and you’ve got something pretty special in my opinion.

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD

EDIT: I have gotten a response, though it’s not entirely reassuring.  XD

















Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 2 – Crimson Coast

Collector’s Number: 023 – Crimson Angel

6 points

Once per turn, roll a d6. On a 5 or 6, this ship may be given an extra action.

Flavor: A magnificent creature drenched in the blood of her enemies. Crimson Angel is from either heaven or hell, depending on your point of view. She attacks crowns and pirates alike, seemingly loyal to none but her own. Even then, she rewards betrayal with swift and deadly vengeance, but her word is legend on the Crimson Coast.

This crew has always been a bit of a conundrum, since Admiral Morgan introduced EA (Extra Action) as 5 points in the first set, Spanish Main.  EA also appeared at about 5 points on most other crew, so Crimson Angel is simply overpriced compared to her peers.  However, EA is amazing.  It’s definitely one of the best abilities in the game, to the point where I’d be willing to pay 6-7 points for it (I’d be willing to pay 5-6 points for SAT/Born Leader).  In that regard, Crimson Angel is still useful.  

There’s just one major problem: her OE version is far better, giving you SAT and World Hater for just FIVE points!  O_O  Normally they’re worth 7 combined, with SAT at 3 and WH at 4.  This makes the OE version one of the best crew deals in the entire game, and a PERFECT crew for any gunship.  The OE version is underpriced, while the CC version is overpriced, making it a no-brainer if you have them both.  They’re both Rare, but OE is a much more common set than CC (especially nowadays), so you’re more likely to end up with the better version anyway.  As a result, the CC version has been largely forgotten for good reason.

As far as using Crimson Angel on specific ships, she’s best on a large gunship that can accommodate her relatively high cost.  A gunship that costs at least 11 points would be best, to save point cap room for a captain and helmsman.  That said, the OE version would be better on the same gunship for a point less.

Game Piece Rating: 4/10.  I hate to give her this low of a rating, but getting EA for 6 points and having a far superior version of the same character available makes her first version somewhat disappointing.  Don’t get me wrong though; EA as an ability would get an 8.5/10 or 9/10 rating from me, but this particular crew doesn’t measure up to the considerable competition.

-You can pick up the (superior) OE version here.  Couldn’t find the CC version individually through a quick search, but it’s not a crew to seek out anyway.


Picture of the Day

Time for Throwback Thursday.  This was a fun 4 player game played three years ago today on May 24th 2015.  I taught two of the three other players, so it was their first game.  (they’ve played a bit since but don’t have lasting interest)  I think I won based on pure gold luck, but everyone played pretty well I believe.  HMS Talon (commanded by one of the beginners) dominated the attention.  XD

Played on the Plunder Pack map. (click to buy)





It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.



FIRST VIDEO BLOG! Blog #13 featured on YouTube

Here’s my first video blog!  I hope to expand and improve in the future, including with my actual camera (not just webcam) and editing.

QOTD (Question of the Day): Would you prefer my blogs in written, video, or audio form?

Deal of the Day

Battle Report for PotC tribute game last year
-This had a unique setup and win conditions based on the movies, so if you’re a fan of PotC, you might find it fun!

Sets are here, Factions on the way!

You may have noticed a new page in the menu!  The Sets page is the newest addition from the old weebly site, but now it’s better than ever.  I have expanded the descriptions for the sets to include my opinions on them, in addition to my ratings based on the Rankings thread godmason started at MT (Miniature Trading).  Today I hope to make a SEPARATE page for the factions, which may include expanded information as well.  This is all part of my plan to make Pirates with Ben the #1 source of information and inspiration on the web for Pirates CSG content!  😀

After I complete the Factions page, I have plans for two other “big” pages I’m excited about.  Neither are part of the weebly site, so it should make this site even better than that one.  I’m trying to make black the default font color for all the text, so some of the links may appear black instead of blue/purple.

As I talked about on MT, I found one of the game’s graphic designers while searching for Cursed Seas pictures.  Go ahead and check out the cool stuff there.  I always have fun finding new Pirates content – I’ve been in the community since 2011, but I still find new gems and info sometimes!  It’s great!

Feeling really great today and excited to make progress on various things.  With that, not much more to talk about here today!  🙂


Deal of the Day: Near-complete set of Davy Jones’ Curse!  Make sure you check the description to see what isn’t there.  In my opinion, still a pretty good deal between the quantity and lack of duplicates.  This is a more efficient way to go than opening a lot of booster packs from a set.

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 5 – South China Seas

Collector’s Number: 079 – L’Heros

Faction Affiliation: France
Rarity: C
Type: Ship
Point Value: 13
Cargo Space: 4
Base Move: S+L
Cannons: 2S-2S-2S
Number of Masts: 3

This ship may dock at an enemy home island and load one treasure. If able, she must leave on your next turn.
Flavor: L’Heros sails with unofficial orders to find and sack enemy ports. She is often spotted sailing out of a harbor at night, laden with ill-gotten loot.

NICE!!  We got a real treasure here.  This is one of the cooler ships in the game, and a great option for France.  As you can see, pretty much everything is a strength, so this is what I call a “stacked” ship.  Good cargo, great speed, great cannons, good ability, fair price.  Nothing to complain about.  XD

If I were you, I would definitely use this ship as a hybrid.  She is just begging to be a multipurpose ship, and she can fill the role well.  With just a captain, you could have good combat capability with 3 cargo left over for gold.  That gold could come from a variety of sources – wild islands, enemy ships, even enemy home islands!  The possibilities are high with a ship like this, and she may remind you of the similarly excellent Virtuous Wind.

Standard 40 point games:  Captain and probably helmsman.  S+L is a great base move, but the Heros will often want even more speed to excel at what she does.  (16/18 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points):  There are a number of French crew that could do well on L’Heros, but unless you go the full-gunship route, I’d recommend trying to keep cargo spaces open.  In that case it pays to have a bare minimum crew setup.  Here I’d go with captain/helmsman/oarsman.  (19 total points, still 2 cargo spaces open)

Large games (over 100 points):  You could max out her point space by combining Jordan Dumas with Amiral Louis Cartier.  This gives the ship more of a boarding focus, but allows for serious carnage with S+L+S+L speed and up to six 2S shots in a turn.  Lots of options with this great ship.  Even a basic setup with a firepot specialist and cannoneer or musketeer in addition to the captain/helmsman could be quite effective.  Just make sure you decide during setup whether or not you want her to play a hybrid role.  (20+ total points)

Game Piece Rating: 9.5/10.  L’Heros is a nearly perfect ship, only held back slightly by her cargo hold, which is good but not quite enough to pull off the perfect hybrid role.  She’s also a bit pricey for a 3 master, so you’re making a somewhat large investment in a ship that doesn’t have a ton of durability.  Still, an amazing ships and one of my absolute favorites.  You can see why SCS is such a great set!


Picture of the Day

Ironically enough, the most memorable picture I have of L’Heros is her getting dismasted by the English during my Century of the Empires game way back in 2013!  🙂

This picture has always held special significance for me.  I believe it’s the first Pirates picture I ever took of a combat situation, as the previous pictures for CotE were broad overviews showing the ocean.  This was the first time I ever got up close in the action, which is something I’ve done a TON since then of course.  The whiteness/brightness of the picture doesn’t stand the test of time well anymore with amazingly beautiful games like Economy Edition and Command the Oceans out there, but it’s still one of my all-time favorites.

That’s what happens when the French take on the English! XD



Fun fact: That same area of floor space shown above is now approximately where a big bag of my custom islands and terrain sits.  Near it is my current collection of cardboard that I hope to use someday.  I have moved the foam to a different location, as I will not have time to do much else for my OTC3 entry.  For me it’s fun to see different setups for games in my room, knowing how different the room looks today.  🙂


It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.


Pirates CSG – Blog #11: Changed the home page

Hello to anyone reading this!  I hope you’re having a fantastic day.  I’ve had a solid Monday, though I’m becoming overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I want/need to do.  XD  Still young though, so hopefully I’ll get around to all of it.

I have changed the homepage.  No longer is it a full width page with just the picture and information underneath.  I added a sidebar with the social icons and signup box, as well as my Instagram feed below that.  The IG feed is new as well!  It was pretty easy to install a plugin for that in wordpress and get it set up.  You can see the variety and activity on my Instagram account, where I aim for at least 3 posts per day.  Just recently I got to 200 followers, which is exciting.  Although now it’s a little lower since things seem to fluctuate a lot on there.  Anyway, let me know what you think of the different homepage – I can easily revert it back to the way it was.  I like how there is more on the homepage now, but I also liked how the picture and text were centered in the wide layout with no sidebar.

At this point, I am considering an exciting potential shift for the blog.  I may do some video and audio blog content!  Knowing how big video and audio are nowadays, and having some desire to switch up my types of content (7 posts per week after all, at a minimum!), it seems natural that I would follow my existing success with video and audio.  Right now my youtube channel and the Pirates CSG Podcast are doing reasonably well.  If I do get into video and audio blogging, I think I could reach more people and make this more exciting and diverse.  It would also give people additional options for checking out my daily content, since most fans of Pirates may not want or have time to read this blog as it stands now.  Let me know if you’d prefer my content in written, video, or audio form.


Deal of the Day: Lot of South China Seas!  Some duplicates in there, but for the quantity and quality you’re getting, it looks to be worth it.

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 7 – Mysterious Islands

Collector’s Number: 077 – Vercingetorix (Triple 7! :))

Faction Affiliation: France
Rarity: U
Type: Ship
Point Value: 8
Cargo Space: 3
Base Move: L
Cannons: 3L-3L
Number of Masts: 2

Ramming cannot eliminate this ship’s masts. 
Flavor: Though Le Veringetorix is named for an ancient Gualish chieftain, her steel-riveted hull marks he as one of the newer ships in the French fleet.

The Vercingetorix is a ship I used to have 3 copies of.  She really isn’t a BAD ship, it’s just that she’s a little boring and could be a bunch better with a little more speed.  For two points more you can get Le Courageux (don’t ask me to pronounce these names!  XD), which is pretty much better in every way.  There’s not a lot you can do with her other than make her a basic support gunship.  Once you added the necessary crew, there isn’t much room left over for much else.  Keep a cargo space open if possible so she could grab a coin from somewhere.  I will say that her ability is certainly a strength, since 1-2 masters are often rammed out of games without much to show for it.

Standard 40 point games:  Captain and helmsman.  (13 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points):  Captain, helmsman, maybe oarsman. (13-14 total points)

Large games (over 100 points):  Captain, helmsman, musketeer.  (16 total points)

Game Piece Rating: 4/10.  A simple ship that doesn’t excite, but can do her job reasonably well.


Picture of the Day

At the end of my final semester of college I printed multiple copies of all the Pirates CSG documents.  I still have a lot left over if you want any.  All you’d pay is the shipping.

Lots of Pirates documents!

It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.


Busy times for this pirate!

My 10th blog post!  Into double digits!  😀

After getting some feedback on the light vs. dark text dilemma, I’m still a little uncertain which way I’ll go.  However, if all the searching I do ends up saying one is better for reading, I’ll probably go with that.  In this post I made the text all black instead of the dark gray, which I think is easier to read.

I didn’t have time yesterday to add a new page to the site, but I hope to add one today.  I’ve also got a new page coming (hopefully soon) that wasn’t at the original weebly site.

Another milestone was reached recently – Historical custom of the day #100!  Despite not knowing about Yi Sun-sin before that day, I think he was a great choice for the landmark number.

After it was suggested more than once on youtube, I made another fleet making tutorial video.  This one is about making a Spanish-only fleet from Spanish Main.  Check it out and let me know your thoughts.  I’d like to make more videos like that, since fleet making tutorials have been requested in various places.



Deal of the Day: Rise of the Fiends Super Rare pack.

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 5 – South China Seas

Collector’s Number: 105 – Albatross

Rarity: R
Type: Unique Treasure

This ship gets –1 to the result of every die roll you make for her. At the beginning of each of your turns, roll a d6. On a result of 6, the player to your right places Albatross on another of your ships. Albatross cannot be unloaded unless the ship it is on sinks.

This is a basic negative UT that can be quite annoying.  The bird appeared in a large game I played a long time ago, and was quite a thorn to one of the fleets throughout the game, especially when it came to rolling for SAT (Born Leader) and EA (extra action ability on a 5-6).  However, there are much more negative UT’s such as Missionary or Wolves.

Game Piece Rating: 2/10.  A negative UT that is quite annoying to roll for and unlikely to switch ships often.  For the fleets that want negative UT’s, this won’t be the first choice.  In my opinion, kind of just an obnoxious addition to the game.


Picture of the Day

Here’s a picture I really love from a small game I played.  Even dismasted and aflame, the Nox is a pretty ship haha.  Love the reflection off the coins on the island, and how the Fool’s Hope being in the foreground makes her look bigger by looming large.

The Fool’s Hope takes out the Nox!


As of now, I’m looking into various things, not just Pirates related.  Honestly I need to make more money, but I don’t want Pirates CSG to be the only way I do that, if I make any money at all from it haha.  I have a lot on my mind, so I just need to hustle and have speed in order to do what I want and need to do.  I’ll still be blogging and working on the site every day, but other things definitely require my attention and time.  As always, thank you for reading.


It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.


Adding pages! Dark or light background?

What have I done with the site since the last blog post?

-Added Gameplay page from weebly (opens in new tab so you can keep reading this! :))

-Disqus comments should now be enabled, but I don’t want to download their low rated plugin full of ads.  Facebook comments working, G+ who knows.  I commented through Disqus yesterday but it doesn’t seem to show up all the time.  Google+ may be the least popular of the three so I can always just disable that.  Ideally I’ll have a comment system where people can comment without signing into anything.  I would LOVE for comments and feedback, so don’t hesitate to start the discussion!  This is a work in progress and I will update things as I improve them.  For now, Facebook is your best bet (and possibly the only option by the looks of it today…).

I’m wondering about whether or not the main menu should scroll with pages.  Right now it’s similar to how the top row or rows of a spreadsheet can be frozen in place, which can be very useful.  However, I think the menu is already large enough to be a hindrance when scrolling, and it’s only going to have more and more stuff.

Also, I’ve looked into using light text on a dark background vs the opposite.  My original fansite was modeled after Pojo because:

  1. Pojo was the first Pirates site I posted at.
  2. I like the light text on dark background look because it’s different than what we’re used to seeing on websites.
  3. I wanted my site to stand out from the crowd and be a bit different.

However, as you can see from the link, it may actually be worse for reading text!  Even by looking at their examples I can tell a bit of a difference.  I may do more research on the matter.  Since I’ll be publishing a TON of text-based content on this site and blog, perhaps it’s best to just stick with light background and dark text.  Looking for feedback on this as well.  I haven’t figured it out yet, but there may also be ways to change the theme colors/backgrounds.  Though, I probably shouldn’t have some pages with a dark background and others with white since it could be jarring.


Deal of the Day: Limited Edition Crimson Coast Deliverance.  Sold by ktulu, a member at Miniature Trading.  He has some other items that are similarly interesting!

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 7 – Mysterious Islands

Collector’s Number: 140 – Empty Sky

Faction Affiliation: Pirate
Rarity: SE
Type: Ship
Point Value: 12
Cargo Space: 5
Base Move: S
Cannons: 3S,2S,2S,3S
Number of Masts: 4

Crew of any nationality may use their abilities on this ship.

Flavor: Captain Hart and his crew of pirates believe in two things: gold will make you happy and rum will make you even happier.

Nice, got lucky with an interesting and rare SE (Special Edition) ship!  Lots of sets had common SE box ships, but MI SE boxes were more rare.  Onto the ship!  The Empty Sky is clearly trash compared to what players got spoiled on in the early sets, with the Darkhawk II and Neptune’s Hoard (among many others) being far superior 4 masters.

She does have strengths, namely her cannons, cargo, and ability.  Her abysmal speed is such a detriment that it really holds her back quite a lot.  However, with a captain and helmsman she can be a reasonable hybrid ship.

Standard 40 point games: Hammersmith, or just a captain and helmsman if you don’t have him.  (17 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points):  Hammersmith + Gentleman Jocard and an optional explorer.  This really gets you cargo – H saves you a space by combining abilities and Jocard gets you an extra space.  Without the explorer you can have 5 cargo at S+S with good guns ready to fire – not a terrible deal for 20 points.  The explorer would make Jocard less beneficial on paper (at least in my opinion, since you’re just filling up his space with a 1 point crew), but speeds up exploring (you’re not likely to catch and board enemy gold runners with slow speed) and adds insurance to protect the more important named crew.

Large games (over 100 points): Here I like Hammersmith, Coconut, and Calico Cat.  This maxes out the Empty Sky’s point cap, and gives her a plethora of abilities while saving cargo to preserve her hybrid status.  Coconut’s reroll is perfect for Cat, while exploring for gold remains a solid option.  The SAT-boosted speed turns the ship into a legitimate threat, though at this point level you could be facing multiple super gunships at once.

Honestly I’ve never been big on the Pirates getting international crew, since they already have the best crew selection of any faction in the game.  That said, there are some potential combos… you could combine Hammersmith with English Griffin to make her an even better hybrid.  Dominic Freda is another great named crew.

Game Piece Rating: 5/10.  The Empty Sky looks nice and has some good attributes, but really can’t sail around to save her own life.  Unfortunately, the base move of S is almost a death knell as it is for most other ships that move at a snail’s pace.  However, her strengths keep her from being unusable, and she remains quite an interesting novelty among the pack of largely boring SE box ships.


Picture of the Day

Speaking of the Deliverance, here’s the rare version I do own.  Command the Oceans (my solo campaign game from 2017) pioneered the use of tiny screen pieces as ladders.  The Deliverance is receiving some crew replacements from the Pirate Kingdom (their home “island” in that game) so Havana Black can keep his sacrificial operations alive as part of the whirlpool squadron.  Whew, what a run-on paragraph this could become if I got into the details.  In that case, I guess it’s not surprising that the battle reports for this game take up nearly 500 pages in a google doc!  O_O

Get some crew replacements! Havana Black is hungry! 😉


It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.


A true Deal of the Day, and reminiscing on the past

Yesterday I featured a post in the Facebook group the game I played on May 17th 2015, and Xerecs made a comment about how fast the time had flown by since I originally posted the report.  It got me thinking a little bit today, since this time of year features some other “anniversary” things as well.  I’ve been looking through the Pictures megafolder on my computer each day and searching by “datecreated: 5/18/20XX” for example, typing in the different years from 2011-2017 to see if any anniversary dates came up for pictures taken.  At this time last year, I was finishing up college and printing a huge volume of Pirates CSG documents, some of which I mailed to other members who wanted the Master Keyword List and others in physical form.  I was also finishing up my Basic Rules, which I’ll be putting on this site soon.  Even a year later it’s almost nostalgic, but I suppose that’s just due to it being my final week at college.

Three years ago this month I was in a 2 week planning phase for Economy Edition, which in June 2015 became (at the time) the largest recorded game in Pirates CSG history.  If you follow along this blog for a while, you’ll definitely be hearing more about EE as I call it.  As I outline in my Guide to huge games thread, planning is a very essential step in the process of playing a campaign game.  If you’re not prepared, game time will be wasted figuring things out.  It’s inevitable that things will crop up during a campaign (mostly organizational and rules related), but it’s best to be fully prepared going into it.

I didn’t do much on the site yesterday, but I have youtube videos planned for upload this weekend and should be able to add something today.


Deal of the Day: 36 packs of Revolution for $65 from HWG!  This is literally their Deal of the Day, featured on their homepage!  

Nice to see Pirates CSG featured on the homepage of any website!


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 1 – Spanish Main

Collector’s Number: 015 – El Ballista

Faction Affiliation: Pirate
Rarity: U
Type: Ship
Point Value: 9
Cargo Space: 2
Base Move: S+L
Cannons: 4L,4L,4L,3S
Number of Masts: 4

On the turn this ship is pinned, eliminate one crew from the enemy ship.

Flavor: Under Spain’s control, the El Ballista was considered unbeatable, but Jack Hawkins won her without firing a shot. He wanted to name her the Sea Nymph in honor of his female accomplices, but his crew decided to keep the name and lose Hawkins instead.

Wow, another interesting ship!  The Ballista is an extreme ship from the very first set, a set in which most of the 4 masters had good if not great or absurd cargo hold sizes (Darkhawk II and Joya del Sol at EIGHT!  O_O).  This is the original suicide attack ship.  You can make a good case that the Maryland and others did it better in later sets, but the Ballista pioneered the strategy of sailing straight towards your enemy, ramming, and just letting all hell loose.  XD

The speed and ability are the only true strengths here, but the cannons are usable considering the low price.  In fact, the Ballista is in very select company, as one of only four 4 masted ships that costs less than 10 points.  Indeed, getting a large ship like this for a single digit cost is a deal by itself, let alone considering her decent attributes.  The Ballista cannot realistically be a gold ship, so she’s relegated to the very front lines of warfare.  Since she’s cheaper than any other ships her size, not well-armed, and has a “suicidal” ability, the Ballista is one of the most “disposable” warships in the game.  You cannot expect her to last long; just hope she causes adequate damage and chaos on the way out.  XD

The strategy is essentially to put a captain and helmsman aboard, and then use that S+L+S speed (VERY fast for a 4 master) to slam into an opponent.  Between the 2+ cannon shots, the ram, the boarding, and the pinning ability, you’re very likely to knock out some masts and crew.  Alternatively, you could run her empty and try to steal gold, but I don’t think that maximizes her effectiveness at all.

Standard 40 point games: At least a helmsman, and probably a captain.  (11-14 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): Captain/helmsman, possibly oarsman. (14 total points)

Large games (over 100 points): Quite frankly I don’t see much point in putting more crew aboard since it’s a ship that won’t be able to take full advantage anyway.  Her cargo and point cap are too low to make use of many named crew, who could die in the boarding parties anyway.  Also, once you get pinned, there’s not much you’ll be doing other than shooting the cannons and trying to get unstuck haha.  If you have a limited collection, a captain/reroll crew like Griffin could help with boarding and shooting, but he’s often better on a true gunship to reroll SAT or EA.

Game Piece Rating: 6.5/10.  This one is tough to rate, since it’s another very niche ship.  The Ballista will never be a good gold runner or gunship, but in terms of causing chaos and disruption when she enters a battle, not many ships can deliver like she can for this price.

You can actually see the Ballista on the homepage right now, as the signature picture of the site is a Pirate fleet at the home island.  Ironically the Grand Barnacle was in that fleet as well (she was the Card of the Day recently).

Later in that actual game, you can see the Ballista at the right, taking on my opponent’s entire fleet all at once!   XD

Game at college, August 2016.


Picture of the Day

This is a nice picture I took soon after I acquired these vessels.  I love how this silky blue fabric I got is shiny like real water.  Definitely something I plan to get more into later on (such as acrylic plastic sheeting, possibly).  The Dauphin Royal, Neptuno, and Grand Barnacle lead the charge.

Trade acquisitions of summer 2016.


It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.


New eBay find and a minor anniversary of a game

Not much time to talk today, pressed for the time the next 3-4 days and can’t just ramble about Pirates as much as I usually like to.  XD   Also, all 3 of the daily features were longer than usual today!

What have I done with the site since the last blog post?

-I added the Building a Fleet page from weebly, improved with examples.  I’m hoping the examples make it easier to for new players to see exactly what I’m talking about, and to provide clarity if they don’t know what certain abilities are.  Feedback/additional fleet example candidates are welcome!

-The default font seems to be showing up lighter than I’d like it, so I’m trying to remember to change it to a pure black.  This relates to my whole text/background debate, which I think I’ll get into more detail on tomorrow.  For the blog I may leave the font as-is sometimes though…. hmm.

-I’m getting the social stuff in gear!   I added a social comment feature, so you should be able to comment on some stuff if you’re signed into Facebook, Google+, Disqus, or WordPress.  Check it out at the bottom of posts and pages!  I just implemented that so it may not always show up (for this, I think you have to view this post’s page separately from the category page).  Getting the kinks ironed out.  🙂


Deal of the Day: Super Rare version of Captain Mysion for just $2.30.  They also have Runes of Odin for just $1.17!  The shipping is strange; it’s showing $1 for some ships that are on 2 cards, but $3.95 on some 1 card items.  I’d recommend looking at their page and then seeing if you can get a good deal on the shipping.  For example “request invoice” before paying in full.

**Disclaimer: I will be using affiliate links with things like this, so if someone buys from it, I could make a few cents.  XD


Pirates CSG Card of the Day

Set number: 12 – Rise of the Fiends

Collector’s Number: 031 – Sea Hag

Faction Affiliation: The Cursed
Rarity: U
Type: Ship
Point Value: 15
Cargo Space: 3
Base Move: L
Cannons: 3S, 3S, 3S, 3S
Number of Masts: 4

Schooner. If this ship ends her turn in a fog bank, on her next turn she can use her move action to move out of any other fog bank in play.

Nice!  Certainly an interesting ship to look at today.  The Sea Hag is incredibly dull and average until you see her feature ability, which is called fog hopping, or you could call the Sea Hag a “fog hopper”.  This is obviously due to the fact that she can hop out of any fog bank at will!  It’s definitely a cool ability, though another one that sounds better than it performs (like Ghost Ship, and the recently reviewed Shipwright).

Overall the Sea Hag is still not an exceptional ship, but rather a very gimmicky one.  Being the largest ship that has the fog hopping ability, she is often the flagship or centerpiece of fleets that are based around the fog hopping strategy.  I have two fleets involving this ship, and she has performed reasonably well in a few campaign games.  I’d recommend using her as a general gunship that takes advantage of fog sneak attacks to get the first strike.  Xerecs used her as a gold runner in VASSAL Campaign Game 3, which is a decent strategy for the Cursed to get gold at long range.

Standard 40 point games: Captain and helmsman.  She needs the speed boost, and is much more of a gunship than a gold runner.  (20 total points)

Medium size games (50-100 points): At least captain/helmsman, optional other crew.  Her guns are very average so a cannoneer or musketeer will help a bit.  An oarsman could protect other crew and let her limp away to the safety of the fog if she loses an engagement.  Since fog hopping is a very expensive gimmick, this game size probably won’t let you put many named crew aboard.

Large games (over 100 points):  Captain/helmsman of course, but now we can go a little crazy.  🙂  El Fantasma is a great crew to use on the Sea Hag, since he allows for the potential to come out of a fog bank at L+S+L+S speed with 8 shots!  Eternal would help too since fog hoppers often have short lives due to the nature of their hit-and-run raids without much support from elsewhere (since there are only a handful of fog hoppers in the whole game, so you can’t really put together a giant fog hopping squadron).   This version of Fantasma could be quite effective – the cannon bonus gives you 2S guns, while the reverse captain ability could help the Sea Hag escape into the fog after shooting.  Combine that with some extra actions from a Admiral’s Action 6 roll, and you could really have an effective and sneaky gunship.  Just keep in mind you may want to have a support ship around with a smokepot specialist if the Sea Hag gets far from her fog banks.  If you want to go on a massacre after exiting your fog bank, there is just enough point cap space for Sammy the SkullWhite Crew, and a helmsman.  This ship is also the most expensive fog hopper, so conceivably you could fit copier Davy Jones aboard with a captain, and copy something like the Longship keyword to get 8 shots coming out of a fog bank.  XD

Game Piece Rating: 6/10.  The novelty and excitement of fog hopping prevents this ship from getting about a 4/10.  That said, it’s still not a great gunship by any means, and even the Cursed have numerous better options.

-You can get the Sea Hag here or here.

Gotta remember this more often!  It’s just that I don’t have pictures organized by ship, so even if I can recall a picture with the ship of the day in it, it can take a while to find it on my computer.

The Sea Hag assaulting a French fort with Shal-Bala during Economy Edition, June 2015.


Picture of the Day

I know I’m cheating a bit, but I’ve got two today!  I’ve got a handful of nice pictures from a 3 player game I played 3 years ago today, on May 17th 2015.  It was a cool game where the Trinity was moving S+S+S between her ability and a helmsman early in the game.  However, she had gold aboard late in the game, and as boardings piled up, so did her masts – overboard!  XD   The ship gradually went from S+S+S to S+S, and even lost her helmsman to end up at just S.

Chase to catch the slowing Trinity!

My Valeroso was carrying some fiery stuff, and managed to really light up the poor Augusta, who eventually gave off quite the impressive smoke display.

A rare sight – a ship almost completely engulfed by flames!


Unfortunately the photobucket disaster of 2017 wrecked my battle report for the game (as well as many others), but I hope to restore it back to form at some point in the distant future.


It’s a Pirates’ Life for Me.